As I’m sure none of you know, today marks the 20th anniversary of a very important day in my young adult life. Twenty years ago on this day, I had been 13 years old for a week. I was on my last half of seventh grade, patiently waiting for that crappy school year to end. I was getting excited for my friend’s birthday party the next day at an indoor waterslide park. But more importantly, on April 10, 1992…I was going to the movies.
I was to attend the movies that night with two friends who shall remain nameless due to the fact that they wanted to see the movie Thunderheart rather than my heartfelt suggestion.
Anyway, somehow I managed to convince them that three 13-year-old girls would not get into a rated-R movie, not even at the Apache 6 movie theater. And because of that, I forced my two friends to see what would become the ultimate cult classic:
I actually didn’t know a whole lot about this movie when it came out. I knew it was about singing and dancing teenage boys, so it couldn’t be bad. And it had that kid from Big in it. You know, the one who played Tom Hanks when he wasn’t big. Yeah. That kid.
So really, on that night, my expectations were not that big. I thought it would be fun, we would laugh about it, and that would be it. We’d work off our Mountain Dew and Skittles high, and then go to bed, never to think of Newsies again.
But that did not happen.
I fully blame this all on Christian Bale. Had he not been in that movie, had he not STOLEN MY HEART AND SOUL, I would have maybe become more popular at school. But no. No, I fell in love that night with said British actor Christian Bale. I fell in love with Newsies that night. And nothing was ever to be the same.
To show you all my initial reaction to the movie, I share with you my ACTUAL diary entry from that night. I’m serious. It’s hilarious.
Something interesting about this entry…notice how I still think that Terminator 2: Judgment Day is my favorite movie (I mean, I did watch it 3o times so far!). That was a lie. Newsies totally toppled that movie. I was simply in denial. Also notice my amateur attempt at blocking out names to protect the innocent. You don’t want to know who I danced with at that dance, and my two friends don’t want the world to know that they wanted to see Thunderheart.
I saw Newsies in the theater three times before its run was over. Three times wasn’t nearly enough for me and my bursting love for Christian Bale, but back then you couldn’t just download the movie the next day or watch it on demand in a week. Back in 1992, you had to wait for the movie to come out on video, and that wait was usually around six months.
Newsies came out on video around the middle of October, and it was then when I introduced new bestie to the joy and wonders of the movie. At no surprise, she enjoyed it tremendously, so much so that we watched the movie three times that night. Suddenly having Newsies marathons and writing Newsies fan fiction became our thing. Later on these marathons – Newsies Jubilee Weekends, or NJWs, as we called them – branched out to other various movies starring super cute boys, but at the heart of it all was the little movie about newsboys selling their hearts out for a penny a pape.
The Newsies obsession started to wane a bit, of course, the older I got. I bought it when it came out on DVD ten years ago, but haven’t watched it much since. I suppose it’s because it’s weird to be in your 30s watching a boys who were between the ages of 13-18, knowing that you had huge crushes on them, and then realizing that you’re double the age they were. And I’m probably way to old to even attempt the dance moves my friend and I had memorized and mastered, even though I could still probably do them in my head.
Even though Newsies came out twenty years ago does not mean that it’s dead. After years of dreaming of this, a Broadway version has finally come out, opening small-scale last September, and finally moving to Broadway last month. And the soundtrack for the Broadway show became available on iTunes TODAY on its 20th anniversary. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
The show has been getting rave reviews since it’s opening, which is pretty awesome considering it’s, well, Newsies. I totally want to see it, but unless I win a trip to New York, I’m going to have to resort to hoping it comes to the Twin Cities some time down the road. Because you can bet that I will be in that audience, living vicariously through my 13-year-old self.
Carrying the Banner.